Danish teenager defeats Novak Djokovic to announce himself on the world stage
For Djokovic there were two questions to answer: the one he has done, the one he hasn’t been asked to answer.
And the one most have asked, and dare not talk about: What is Djokovic like in the court? Has he developed as a player in his 14 years, or has he lost something to the long, painful, often unfair grind of tennis?
The 29-year-old will be playing in the Australian Open for the first time in nearly three years when he meets David Goffin at Rod Laver Arena. Goffin, who has been ranked No 1 in the world by the ATP, is the first man from Denmark to compete in Australia since Fredrik Jonsson won in 1985.
And in a way Djokovic has been looking over the back shoulder of his career from the outset. It took him years to get there, with the exception of a brief Australian Open final in 2009 and last year’s title with Serb Novak Djokovic. But now suddenly he is poised to turn the corner.
At the Australian Open in a week’s time, Djokovic will play for the first time for five years. The last time he was there, he lost in the Wimbledon quarter-finals. But more importantly, he will play for the first time without his father, Luka. He will get to watch his son on the world stage and be able to stand back and see the progress he has made.
“I’ve gotten past my father,” Djokovic said after beating the 25-year-old Goffin, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. “I’ve got through his disappointment for me. And I can be proud when I get to see him on the court and I can stand there and watch my father play. That’s a great honour for me.”
As I write this article, Djokovic is ranked world No. 3. He has an 18-4